Tokonoma Gyo style

  • Material: Western Red Cedar


The original idea was to build a small tea house, size of 3 tatami mats.

Instead of a tea house, it has become a modern cube mixing eastern and western elements. I named it ‘Fu Sou An’ which means ‘floating hut’ in Japanese because it is lifted by I-beams. For the wooden joints of the construction, I was inspired by old farm houses in Black Forest in south-west Germany.

Western Red Cedar was chosen as material for the frame construction. In order to optimize the strength of this wood, I needed to reconsider and adjust the wooden joints. For the outside walls and roofing, I used Western Red Cedar shingles, making irregular pattern with Yakisugi shingles (burned Cedar shingles) on the sides. The roof overhang is long enough to sit on Engawa (veranda) without getting wet on rainy days.

The inside walls are clay finishing. The floor is covered with half size tatami mats. The entrance is a pair of old sliding doors from Japan.

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Migration Dialogues (Sideboard)

  • Material: Beech Plywood, Western Red Cedar, Meranti, Pine

As a Japanese living in Belgium, the subject of migration is always on my mind. The square body of this sideboard refers to Belgian society and order, and the organic form of the legs refers to migration. The 4 legs represent 4 different ethnic groups: front-right leg are Africans, front-left leg are people from Middle East, back-right leg are Asians, and back-left leg are people from Latin America. The place where the straight and curved lines meet, is the compromise, required to adapt to the cabinet body / Belgian society.

Migration involves both conflict and harmony because of the migrant backgrounds: there is a difference of culture, religion, language and values. It brings along great challenges; for the migrant as well as for Belgium as a host country. I express roughly 4 ethnic groups here, but there are big differences between individuals even in the same group. Every single person has his or her own unique migration dialogue.

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Memorial Boxes

  • Material: Western Red Cedar, Princess Tree (Kiri)

Japanese Kiri is a type of wood which is very difficult to find in Belgium. Wanting to have memorial boxes in Japanese Kiri, the client brought his own Kiri boxes. I dismantled the old boxes and planed various thicknesses one by one up to the required thickness. Inside construction is cedar with fine straight grain. To overcome the shortage of Kiri, I used the wood grain vertically. Boxes have Japanese traditional cord.